Wednesday, April 20, 2016

#1649: Mark Gietzen & Jonathan Hall

Gietzen. Couldn't find a
picture that was for sure a
picture of the correct
Jonathan Hall.
Fluoride conspiracies are, like all conspiracy theories, stupid, but though they seem to have been overshadowed by anti-vaccine hysteria and wi-fi delusions in terms of public awareness, there are lunatics with internet access, poor critical thinking skills, low levels of scientific literacy, and an unhealthy dose of paranoia who are still championing the anti-fluoride cause. Since they tend to fly a bit under the radar, they have even had some success. The city of Wichita, Kansas, has for instance passed an ordinance banning the use of fluoride in that city’s drinking water supply; the popular vote was swayed in part by the campaigns of Wichitans Against Fluoridation, who, in the words of their leader Jonathan Hall, are “part of the upcoming wave of change,” and has been planning to bring their efforts nationwide.

Part of the reason why they were successful, was the unconditional and deluded support of Mark Gietzen, president of the Kansas Republican Assembly, who applauded the idea of spreading the word: “Since I am connected to the National Federation of Republican Assemblies. I’m going to try to make fluoride one of our core issues,” said Gietzen, who also likened fluoride to lead and asbestos: “Things that we thought were right back then maybe were not such a good idea after all. That’s where we are with fluoride.” Which is false, but we don’t suppose Gietzen or Hall would be anywhere close to a position to assess the facts or evidence: “[T]he latest science confirms that ingested fluoride lowers the IQ in children,” said Gietzen but didn’t cite any science.

Gietzen is otherwise best known as a prolife activist and the chairman of the Kansas Coalition for Life. One of their major projects was to place crosses each day on public property in front of George Tiller’s late-term abortion facility in Wichita, and they claimed to have saved 395 babies to date. He is also the author of Is it a Sin for a Christian to Be a Registered Democrat in America Today?

Diagnosis: Anti-fluoride scare mongering is really as crazy as anything, and though it may seem like a blast from the past to many, it’s still going strong. Hall and Gietzen are dangerous – but more importantly, they’re tragic figures: Think how much good they could have achieved if they’d devoted their energy to actually helping people.


  1. You are describing yourself. You are stupid, a lunatic, have poor critical thinking skills, and are scientifically illiterate. You have to be a complete loon to not be able to understand that using public water supplies to deliver any medication is a blatant abuse of human rights and pharmacologically nonsensical, let alone a highly toxic cumulative poison such as fluoride. It isn't just a coincidence that forced-fluoridation started in America, and that more people are subjected to it in America than in the rest of the world combined. You conveniently neglected to mention that Portland, Oregon voted against forced-fluoridation 61% to 39% in 2013, by the way, and that many highly qualified people oppose forced-fluoridation. I have asked many forced-fluoridation fanatics to tell me how much accumulated fluoride in the body they think is safe. So far not a single one of them has been able to answer the question.

  2. ^ Nope, you're the stupid lunatic. Fluoride is a public health victory. It's not a medication, it's not toxic, it's not a poison. And who cares about Portland's vote. Popular votes aren't science, especially when people are loaded up with false ideas.

    1. And besides, Portland is the pseudoscience capital of America.

    2. Are you actually trying to be mentally retarded? It is a fact that fluoride is highly toxic. The dose required to kill the average adult is around 4 or 5 g, and that has been known for a long time. What part of that don't you understand? Unlike you, I actually have a university science education and have read a large amount of material on this subject, including many original research studies and systematic reviews.

    3. "[I] have read a large amount of material on this subject, including many original research studies and systematic reviews."

      No, you have not, at least if by "original research studies" you mean "real studies published in respectable venues" and by "read" you mean "read with minimal comprehension".

      There really is nothing more to discuss here. Fluoridation has been extensively studied and no association with negative health effects have been found. Experts agree that there is no danger from fluoridation (and an expert is one who knows how to assess the evidence and distinguish relevant data from noise. I am not an expert, and neither are you.) For non-experts the only rational position is to align one's credences with the credences of the experts.

      That's the end of it. If you disagree with the experts, present your data to them. If you manage to convince the experts to change their minds, then - and only then - will it be reasonable for the rest of us to do so as well. The fact that you, as a non-expert, disagrees with the experts, is at present only strong evidence that you have misunderstood the issue, data and evidence you have been reading (and/or are engaged in silly conspiracy theories, like thinking that "the experts are paid off" - that would take us to a whole different level of crazy). And if you have questions, pose them to the experts, not to us.

      The hypothesis that you have misunderstood the issue is further strengthened by the fact that you completely misunderstood Carl Jones's point about toxicity. You responded by starting to talk about lethal doses of fluoride of "4 or 5 g" - so what? *Water*, which is considered the least toxic chemical of all, is still lethally toxic(!) around 6 liters for a normal adult. The dose makes the poison, and saying that "x isn't toxic" is shorthand for "we are not (even potentially) exposed to x at toxic levels". You missed that, which suggests that you don't really know what people say when they say that "x is toxic" or "x isn't toxic", which is again good reason for the rest of us not to trust you on your rants about fluoridation.

    4. You are so stupid it's embarrassing. Compared to the so-called "experts" you refer to, I am an expert. I have two degrees in the physical sciences from one of Australia's Group of Eight universities, one of which is an honours degree, and was also offered an honours place for the other degree. I have always received high marks when I have studied statistics. A large proportion of the original studies I've read are the studies which fluoridationists use to justify themselves, which you would consider "real studies published in respectable venues" because you are clueless. They rely on "studies" (really just thinly disguised marketing) which do not measure individual fluoride exposure, are not randomised, are not blinded, ignore many potentially important confounding factors, are highly prone to large systematic error, and are often funded by corporations with a vested interest such as Colgate-Palmolive. That's a fact, not a conspiracy theory, dimwit. Try actually reading some studies and comprehending them, shit for brains. The idea that fluoridation has been extensively studied is laughable. Have a look at the recommendations at the end of the chapters in the 2006 US National Research Council report Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA's Standards, which show that up to that point a whole lot of basic research had still not been done. Since then hardly any of the recommendations have been implemented. All you are saying here is that you have blind religious faith in idiots who you think are experts, but who those of us who know better realise are just corporate whores. Why did you even bother? You clearly have absolutely no idea of what you're talking about, so all you are doing is making a complete fool of yourself. As I said, it's embarrassing. Your idea that fluoride is not toxic is just a complete joke. You are trying to redefine the English language, and falling flat on your face. If you don't know what you're talking about, just shut up and stop wasting people's time. Is it really that hard to understand? Don't bother replying, because I already know you have nothing to say so I'm not going to waste any more of my time on you.

    5. Fluoride is not toxic at its recommended level. Damn near everything is toxic if you take too much. "The dosage makes the poison". Twit.

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    7. Dan Germouse:

      An "honours degree" in physical science does not make you anything remotely resembling an expert on medicine, chemistry or how to do science. Nor do you bother to mention any particular adverse health effects of fluoridation and try to back your claims up with evidence. And the claim that the studies of fluoride out there (such as e.g. the National Health and Medical Research Council's (Australia) "A systematic review of the efficacy and safety of fluoridation") are "thinly disguised marketing" paid for by the industry and carried out by "corporate whores" is a conspiracy theory just a hairsbreadth short of "THE ILLUMINATE ARE TRYINGTOCOMMITGENOCIDEBYVACCINATION".
      As for your complaint that I am "trying to redefine the English language" ... You know, according to *your* understanding water (and virtually everything else) is correctly described as toxic. Carl Jones and I, however, think that's silly and not in line with how the word is generally used.

      "Don't bother replying."

      I don't think that's how it works, Dan Germouse.

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