It’s tough being a skeptic in Byron Bay. In a walk through town I’ll see tarot card readers, palm readers, ‘healing’ sessions, GMO misinformation, ‘aura’ photographers and, lately, christian messages written in chalk on rubbish bins. I’ve encountered people who claim that western medicine/GPs are just in it for the money, only then to boast about spending $150 on something as thoroughly debunked as reiki massage. I generally turn the other cheek and don’t comment unless my opinion is asked, or if someone is stating something as fact when it’s simply not the case. However, this week I found two letters that your newspaper deemed fit to publish in 2013, citing two of the most comprehensively debunked myths, one being 9/11 being an inside job/False flag, the other, a relic from McCarthy-era politics, water fluoridation. We live in an age where our new PM doesn’t even accept anthropomorphic climate change, despite a 99 per cent consensus among climatologists. We have a conspiracy theorist at the head of our country; the last thing we need is your average tin-foil nut job given any sort of credence.
Extensive debunks of 9/11 can be found simply by googling or youtubing ‘9/11 debunked’ or by visiting debunking911.com, which contains a plethora of sourced, cited, peer-reviewed material which breaks down every myth, and exposes the quote mining, red herrings, leaps of faith and outright lies of the 9/11 ‘truth’ movement, or any of the many other sites dedicated to exposing the lies of CTs, such as rationalwiki, 911myths, or rkowens4’s YouTube channel. The myth is far too huge and ridiculously elaborate to attempt to debunk via a LTTE. As for water fluoridation, which was rated as the ninth-greatest medical achievement of the 20th century, the US Centers for Disease Control, is in far too low a concentration for the thirsty labourers Mr Sawyer is worried about; they would die of drinking too much water long before they received any ill effects of fluoride. If you eat enough bananas the potassium will kill you as well.
The Harvard study that is popular among the anti-fluoride crowd, who cite it as a source for their claims, fails to mention that the study focuses on residents in China and India living in areas with naturally occurring high levels of fluoride owing to the geological makeup of the area, not fluoridated drinking water or fluoride in toothpaste. These were people receiving mega-doses of fluoride, many, many times higher than that found in our tap water. In fact the areas with the highest IQ were those around the CD dental optimum of 0.7 mg/L. Fluoride is found naturally in water, soil and fruits and vegetables like spinach, tea leaves, cucumbers, carrots, beetroots, corn and many many others. This was a myth debunked decades ago and it’s an embarrassment to today’s society for something like this, which can actually affect the health and wellbeing of society, to rear its ugly, misinformed, fear-mongering head. Don’t even get me started on the anti-vaccination movement.
This week, scientists reversed Down syndrome in infant mice with a single injection; trials are starting for the first HIV vaccines; the lifetime of yeast was substantially extended which could then be used to extend human life; trials were started on therapeutic vaccines for melanoma; a new method of solar panel construction was discovered that increases efficiency by 3–10 times; a method of making DNA glue sticks that will repair and self-assemble internal organs was accomplished; and a device was unveiled that can potentially clear the plastic debris in the Pacific Ocean in around five years’ time. That’s just a few from this week alone. This is a time when we should be embracing scientific endeavour, particularly medicinal, and yet we still have people focusing on methods which have, time and time again, been shown to be have nothing beneficial besides a mild placebo effect, or people responding to fear, or getting their information alone from groups like the AVN or fluoride Australia without actually checking the facts first. I’m increasingly seeing a mistrust of science wrongly correlated with a mistrust of authority. It’s a shame and a pity in this day and age.
Dane Jago, Byron Bay
• In case you are searching for it, the 9/11 conspiracy theory letter was not published in Echonetdaily, only in the Byron Shire Echo. – Ed